Getting the food part right is the most critical aspect of carb cycling. To start off, I tweaked Hugh Rivera’s formula to calculate the amount of carbs I needed per day.
My weigh-in days are Wednesdays and Sundays. I would take the Sunday reading from the Withings and plug those values into the spreadsheet.
The values needed are body weight (kg) and body fat (%). My spreadsheet converts my weight to lb and calculate my lean body mass in lb. That last measurement forms the basis of the formulas for calculating macros.
- Low Carb Day (LCD): 0.8 * lean body mass
- Moderate Carb Day (MCD): 1.25 * LCD
- High Carb Day (HCD): 2 * LCD
By the end of this cycle, my lean mass was at 102 lb. This means that last week I ate 82g, 102g and 151g on LCD, MCD, and HCD respectively. Protein and fat are constant amounts (1.3 * lean body mass and 0.25 * lean body mass).
The problem I had for the first two weeks was because I was coming out of my extended low carb calorie deficit, having so much carbs again was a shock to the system. As my my weight was higher, and for the first week I used the formula without changing it, I was consuming 175g of carbs on HCDs.
This was far too much for me to handle, but I forced it down so that I could see this experiment through to the end. As the weeks went by, I adjusted the formula slightly to what I’ve mentioned above. My overall calorie intake ranged between 1200 and 1600 calories.
The source of carbs is also very important. All carbs need to come from clean, unprocessed sources. I’ve favoured rolled oats and sweet potato, with brown rice, lentils and couscous as alternates.
The typical meal plan I followed consisted of the following:
Breakfast (all days)
- 20g rolled oats
- 15g soy protein isolate
- 10g Futurelife Smart Food (Chocolate Flavour)
- 100g soypea balls (not sure when I’ll post this recipe, but it’s basically soybeans and chickpeas)
- 100g protein (tuna/mackerel/chicken/pork)
- 50g fat free chunky cottage cheese
- Couscous/sweet potato (HCD)
- A large orange (~100g) (MCD+HCD)
Post Workout Shake (MCD + HCD)
- 1 medium apple (~90g)
- 25g soy protein isolate
- 10g Futurelife High Protein (Chocolate)
- 1 cup water infused with 2 green tea bags
- 1 tbsp mixed raw seeds
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- 100g chicken breast
- 1 large egg
- 100g fat free chunky cottage cheese
- Sweet potato (HCD)
- Couscous/lentils (HCD)
Yes, I ate like that for the entire month of July. No, it didn’t really bother me. Once I am determined to do something, very little can make me change my mind. I have overcome my fear of salt though. Also, I’m quite sure I will never eat tuna again once I’ve reached maintenance.
What may stand out about this plan is that there are no “reward days” or “cheat meals”. That’s because that’s nonsense. You either do something right, or don’t do it at all. I haven’t had a jelly sweet in over 8 months, and I think I’ve forgotten what chips taste like.
I have made provision for some dark chocolate once every few days or so, because can a life without chocolate be called a life?